Accessibility Overlays: Why You Should Avoid Them

A presentation at Connect Tech in in Atlanta, GA, USA by Todd Libby

More and more these days “accessibility” overlays are taking over the Web landscape. The impact of these is far-reaching and the marketing behind it drives the overlay space as more and more unsuspecting companies and organizations sign contracts with these unscrupulous overlay vendors and get duped into thinking that an overlay will fix all their accessibility issues. In fact, they are more and more prevalent daily.

I will go into what overlays are, why they create more barriers than they do remove them, and explain to the audience why they are harmful to the disabled community and what to do when you come across an overlay and how to fight back and make the Web more accessible by taking these overlays down.


The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.

  • Overlay Fact Sheet

    Overlays are a broad term for technologies that aim to improve the accessibility of a website. They apply third-party source code (typically JavaScript) to make improvements to the front-end code of the website.

  • ‘Accessibility at the Edge’ W3C CG Is an Overlay Smoke Screen

    Adrian’s article about the W3C community group that was formed by UserWay

  • Overlay False Claims

    False advertising harms consumers and is damaging to a fair marketplace. It is also illegal. In addition to false advertising being a violation of Federal law, all 50 states have legislation aimed at protecting consumers in their state from deceptive practices.

  • accessiBe is Not Your Friend

    My take on the harassment of accessibility professionals and experts on social media by overlay company represenatives.

  • Karl Groves

    Web accessibility professional

  • Adrian Roselli

    Web Accessibility Expert

  • AccessiBe Will Get You Sued

    Using an overlay service will get you sued. Adrian goes into detail about it.